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Re: Advice on copyrights (Re: TkRat (fwd))



J.H.M. Dassen wrote:
> Does this matter? We have more restrictive copyrights.
> 
> E.g. /usr/lib/texmf/tex/generic/pstricks/colortab.tex:
> %%   (1) You may freely distribute unchanged copies of the file. Please
> %%       include the documentation when you do so.
> %%   (2) You may modify a renamed copy of the file, but only for personal
> %%       use or use within an organization.

That's too restrictive -- it should be in non-free.

> /usr/lib/texmf/tex/plain/misc/btxmac.tex:
> % You may copy this file provided: that it's accompanied by the
> % "BibTeXing" document, whose text is contained in the file `btxdoc.tex';
> % that any documentation you write for these macros also gives a
> % reference for "BibTeXing"; and that either you make absolutely no
> % changes to your copy, or if you do make changes, (1) you name the file
> % something other than `btxmac.tex' and you remove all occurrences of
> % `btxmac.tex' from the file, (2) you put, somewhere in the first twenty
> % lines of the file, your name, along with an electronic address at which
> % others who might use the file may reach you, and (3) you remove each
> % occurrence of Oren's name and electronic address from this file.  These
> % restrictions help ensure that all standard versions of these macros are
> % identical, and that Oren doesn't get deluged with inappropriate e-mail.

I wish people didn't write stuff like this into licenses.  Simple requests
like this don't have to be codified into legal language.  Still, I could
take the code and stick it into one of my own programs - so it fits my
definition of "free software".
 
> /usr/lib/texmf/doc/latex/base/legal.txt.gz
> %The distribution of changed versions of certain files included in the
> %LaTeX system, and the reuse of code from those files, are allowed
> %under the following restrictions:
> % 
> % * It is allowed only if the legal notice in the file does not
> %   expressly forbid it.
> % 
> %   See below, under "Conditions on individual files", for a complete
> %   list of those classes of files which are exceptions.
> % 
> % * You rename the file before you make any changes to it, unless the
> %   file explicitly says that renaming is not required. Any such changed
> %   files should be distributed under conditions that ensure that those
> %   files, and any files derived from them, will never be redistributed
> %   under the names used by the original files in the LaTeX distribution.
> % 
> % 
> % * You change the `identification string' to clearly indicate that the
> %   file is not part of the standard system.
> % 
> %   This `identification string' is in the optional argument of
> %   whichever of the following three commands appears in the file:
> %   \ProvidesClass, \ProvidesFile, \ProvidesPackage.
> % 
> % * You change the `error report address' so that we do not get error
> %   reports for files not maintained by us.
> % 
> % * You acknowledge the source and authorship of the original version
> %   in the modified file.
> % 
> % * You also distribute the unmodified version of the file.

This one is pretty restrictive (and a bit foolish), but I think it still
lets me use the code - although I'd have to bloat my source package a
bit to include modified and unmodified source.  Yuck.
 
> Thus, it looks like we allow "redistribution of modified versions is allowed
> only if the name is changed" cases.

I think it's OK, but I think we should try to discourage the use of this
if at all possible.  Let's strive for "simple" licenses if at all
possible.

Debian has great potential as providing a huge base of source code ideal for
people with a "cut-and-paste" programming style (like me) - but it sort
of loses it's appeal if there are too many conditions to be taken into
account everytime I want to do that.

Cheers,

 - Jim





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